COVID-19 advice

This page will be regularly updated with all guidance and advice relating to COVID-19 for owners and members of the ROA.

Supporting You

We would like to thank you for your continued support during these uncertain times and give reassurance that we are committed to helping owners through this challenging period. 
 
Please do check the ROA’s online resources at roa.co.uk for the latest information.  Should you have any specific queries that we can assist with, please contact us via info@roa.co.uk or contact the team on:
 
Sarah Holton                   07739 042591
Keely Brewer                   07734 051144
Sadie Evans                    07899 904127
Louise Norman                07967 985980
 
We have compiled some support guidance for owners as part of the British racing industry’s Coronavirus response, and the ROA along with industry leaders are continuing to develop proposals which will further assist Owners.

 

Financial

VAT
Ensuring that fees are paid is obviously paramount, and with the ROA’s Tote/Britbet owner-sponsorship scheme owners can continue to recover the VAT incurred during the suspension of racing.  In addition, we would like to remind owners who are yet to register for VAT, that timeframes do apply for backdating the recovery on the original purchase and any associated expenses. Please do contact us directly to discuss these options, or if you have any concerns on this matter.

Find out more about the ROA's Tote/Britbet scheme here.

 

ROA Members Third Party Liability scheme

During this very difficult time we are mindful that owners may have horses whose seasons have had to finish prematurely, or who will have been sent away from their trainers’ yards for a prolonged period of rest or turnout. We would remind members to check with the ​owners/proprietors of such premises that they have the requisite Third Party Liability cover in place (for a minimum limit of indemnity of £2 million, but ideally for up to £5 million).

If your racehorse(s) normally return to your home or your own premises for their rest periods, or if you are intending to do this due to the exceptional current circumstances you should check your liability cover will extend to include these. Most household policies include domestic animals; whilst this may include leisure horses and ponies it may not include racehorses whilst resting.

Should you have any queries please use the attached link to contact details for our insurance brokers Weatherbys Hamilton who will be happy to help https://www.roa.co.uk/benefits/third.html.


Bloodstock Insurance:
You may not be aware, but Owners who have insured against all risks of mortality might be due a partial refund (return of premium) if the use is reduced, perhaps while a jumps horse is temporarily out of training, or where a horse is sold/retired.   It is worth checking with your insurers whether they will be making automatic readjustments.
 
 

Equine Welfare

Trainers are especially reliant on Owners at the moment, in order to maintain their businesses and to ensure the continued care of our horses. I know we all take our responsibilities seriously in this respect. During this period, we are therefore actively encouraging Owners and Trainers to maintain strong mutual communication channels, and further support can be provided by the ROA or the NTF in relation to these areas.

DEFRA advice

DEFRA advice is updated frequently and contains advice for pet owners and livestock keepers on maintaining the welfare of their animals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Members are advised to sign up for updates on this page, especially if they have their horses at home at the moment:

DEFRA COVID-19 advice page

Equine Flu vaccinations

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA)’s cross-industry Veterinary Committee – in conjunction with the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and British Equestrian Federation (BEF) – has today approved a proposal regarding the vaccination schedule for equine influenza in British racehorses. The move has been made in order to help trainers, owners and vets tackle the significant logistical challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and provide clarity for all.

During the remainder of 2020, for a horse to be eligible to compete in Britain it will be necessary to have received an approved equine influenza vaccination within the last 12 months, instead of the existing nine-month requirement. The 12-month approach reflects the policy that was in place in Britain prior to 2019.

The existing BHA policy that vaccinations must have taken place within the last nine months is an interim policy pending a full industry consultation on what the permanent protocol should be. However, the Veterinary Committee, BEVA and the BEF are in agreement that because of the movement restrictions currently in force, the levels of immunity in this population developed as a result of  the  intensive vaccination activity over the last 12 months, and the fact that there have been no reported equine influenza cases in the horse population in the UK this year, the move to the old vaccination protocol does not represent a significant risk for the remainder of 2020.

The reason for this change is to simplify the advice to owners, trainers and vets no matter how long the effect of COVID-19 impacts on equestrian sports and veterinary activities. It gives trainers and vets clear direction for the rest of the year and allows them to plan their vaccination schedules with certainty. It also reflects the difficulties for trainers and vets in administering vaccinations while restrictions on movement and human contact are in place and allows for the racing herd to return to full activities as soon as possible once racing resumes.

In order to continue to best protect the racing industry from the effects of equine influenza it is suggested that, where possible, the current nine-month regulations are adhered to. However, given the current COVID-19 government requirements it is clear that this will not always be achievable, and provided that a horse has had an approved vaccination within the last 12 months it will remain eligible to compete when racing resumes.

The initial vaccination intervals for primary vaccinations and booster vaccinations will also reflect the protocols that were in place under the old 12-month protocols.

The change to the policy is currently in place for 2020 only. The Veterinary Committee will continue to monitor the situation and make further recommendations when necessary. Previously the BHA had announced its intention to hold a consultation in 2020 on permanent changes to the vaccination protocols. This consultation will be temporarily delayed while resources are dedicated to managing the coronavirus outbreak, but will be carried out as soon as is practicable.

Summary of Requirements for the remainder of 2020

  • There will be a relaxation of the current requirement for a booster within 9 months of raceday – for the remainder of 2020, all horses must have received booster vaccinations of not more than one year apart.
  • If any vaccination is administered late (either an annual booster over one year apart, or any of the primary course vaccinations), the horse will have to re-start a new primary course.
  • For full details of primary course requirements, please the Vaccinations Code.
  • The proposed consultation for vaccination harmonisation across Europe will be temporarily delayed, and carried out as soon as is reasonably practicable.
  • The BHA Veterinary Committee will continue to monitor the situation, and make further recommendations when necessary.

 

Q&A

What if my horse goes over a year without a vaccination? 

If this was to occur then you would need to restart your vaccination process from the beginning.

What if my horse goes over a year without a primary or secondary booster?

Again you would need to restart your program as from the beginning.

What will happen in 2021 – when will the nine months return?

This is yet to be determined and will depend on the consultation and also the wider situation regarding COVID-19 and the effect on routine vaccinations by stable veterinarians.

Are these calendar months or days?

12 months refers to 12 calendar months as per usual, rather than 365 days

What happens if my horse isn’t racing – can he go over one year without having to re-start?

No, if the horse was to go over a year without a vaccination then it would need to restart a program from the beginning, whether it is racing or not.

Notes:

About the BHA Veterinary Committee

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA)’s Veterinary Committee advises on all veterinary matters affecting racing and the health and welfare of racehorses. It contains representatives of the BHA, Association of Racecourse Veterinary Surgeons (ARVS), British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA), National Trainers Federation (NTF), Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Animal Health Trust (AHT), Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA), Racecourse Association (RCA) and Independent expertise.

About the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA)

BEVA is a world leading equine veterinary association committed to championing high standards of equine health and welfare. We advance the veterinary and allied sciences, promote scientific excellence and educate equine veterinary professionals throughout the world. More information: https://www.beva.org.uk/About-BEVA

About the British Equestrian Federation (BEF)

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is the National Governing Body for horse sports in the UK, affiliated to the Federation Equestre Internationale  (FEI), the international governing body of equestrian sports. It exists to provide leadership, vision and purpose in steering the direction of equestrianism. Its patron is HRH The Duchess of Cornwall. More information: https://www.bef.co.uk/Default.aspx

Industry protocols for Breeders

The TBA has produced a guide for Breeders, which can be downloaded here:

Industry protocols for Breeders

The TBA COVID-19 page also has a number of useful templates for breeders:

TBA COVID-19 page

Moving Horses

Points to consider for owners around horse movement

 

Transporting horses

The equine industry is awaiting updated guidance from DEFRA on the movement of horses following the Government introduced restrictions of 23 March.  In the meantime, the Thoroughbred Breeders Association issued a protocol which covers transport of horses to studs and draft template for boarding studs transporting mares for covering and return.

https://www.thetba.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/COVID-19-protocol-for-thoroughbred-breeders.pdf     The TBA website also includes a draft template for boarding studs transporting mares for covering and return.

 

Transfer of Responsibility

Under the Rules of Racing your trainer will be required to mark your horse/s as being taken out of their care and control. 

They will record where a horse is transferred to you as its owner.  An email will be triggered to you via the Racing Admin website noting the date the horse left the care of the trainer and explaining the requirements of transfer of responsibility.

In accordance with Equine Anti-Doping Rules, you will need to accept the transfer of responsibility. This can be done quickly and easily by logging in to the My Horses section of Racing Admin www.racingadmin.co.uk

If you don’t have your login, or have problems logging in, a Transfer of Responsible Person form will need to be completed.  If necessary, a copy can be downloaded from:

https://www.britishhorseracing.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Transfer-of-Responsible-Person-Form-october-2019-update.pdf

Please note that failure to do so doesn’t absolve you from your responsibilities under the Equine Anti-Doping Rules. For further information see

https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/anti-doping-medication-control/guidance-on-prohibited-substances/

 

ROA Members Third Party Liability scheme

During this very difficult time we are mindful that owners may have horses whose seasons have had to finish prematurely, or who will have been sent away from their trainers’ yards for a prolonged period of rest or turnout. We would remind members to check with the ​owners/proprietors of such premises that they have the requisite Third Party Liability cover in place (for a minimum limit of indemnity of £2 million, but ideally for up to £5 million).

If your racehorse(s) normally return to your home or your own premises for their rest periods, or if you are intending to do this due to the exceptional current circumstances you should check your liability cover will extend to include these. Most household policies include domestic animals; whilst this may include leisure horses and ponies it may not include racehorses whilst resting.

Should you have any queries please use the attached link to contact details for our insurance brokers Weatherbys Hamilton who will be happy to help https://www.roa.co.uk/benefits/third.html.

 

Horses returning to racing

Owners are reminded of the following anti-doping regulations.

http://rules.britishhorseracing.com/#!/book/34/chapter/s3457-anti-doping

 

Vaccination schedule: equine influenza

For the remainder of 2020, for a horse to be eligible to compete in Britain it will be necessary to have received an approved equine influenza vaccination within the last 12 months, instead of the existing nine-month requirement. The 12-month approach reflects the policy that was in place in Britain prior to 2019.
 
For full details see https://www.britishhorseracing.com/press_releases/equine-influenza-vaccination-requirements-temporarily-relaxed-owing-to-coronavirus-outbreak/
 

Horses retiring from racing 

Both owners and trainers (acting as an agent for the owner) are able to notify the BHA about the decision to retire a horse from racing through the Racing Admin website at www2.racingadmin.co.uk

The owner/trainer will be asked to confirm:

  • The reason for the horse’s retirement
  • Restrictions on racing in the future (non-racing agreement)
  • Details of the horse’s new keeper

Completion of the online form triggers the start of the permanent retirement process, which takes 14 days; after that date the horse is made ineligible to run and is no longer bound by the Rules of Racing.

It also triggers a notification to any new keeper, advising them that they are responsible for completing a transfer of ownership within 30 days. If the new keeper fails to do this, they may incur a fine of up to £5,000 from Trading Standards.


New owner details

Where the horse has a new owner, the new owner’s name, email address and postcode will need to be uploaded by the trainer​/owner when giving notification of retirement through the Racing Admin website.

This information helps ensure the racing industry can identify and have the fullest possible traceability for those racehorses that have retired from the sport.

A dedicated page on the BHA’s website will allow participants to check the retirement status of any horse. This can be found at https://selim.britishhorseracing.com/padua/

 

Passports

To update ownership information online (for horses not in training) see weatherbysgsb.co.uk

In the case of a horse that dies or is euthanised the passport must be returned to Weatherbys within 30 days, along with a note stating the date of death.  Passports can be returned to the owner upon request.

 

Life after racing

BHA provides guidance around a racehorse’s life after racing https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/life-after-racing/

 

Retraining of Racehorses (RoR)

As British horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of retired racehorses, Retraining of Racehorses (RoR) places great value on improving traceability. In addition to meeting legal requirements in updating the passport, the owners of former racehorses should register their horse with RoR.

Initial registration is free, ensuring both ongoing traceability of where a horse is in retirement, and providing the new keeper with a support network. Registering for free includes the opportunity to benefit from the extensive programme of educational activities run by RoR. Last year over 300 educational events were available to those registered with RoR.

RoR also assists racing owners and trainers in rehoming and retraining their horses. The charity offers an advice line, the Source a Horse website facility and a retrainers directory. RoR is also awaiting funding to roll out a nationwide network of regional field officers who, once recruited, will be the on the ground points of contact for owners and trainers.

https://www.ror.org.uk/

 

Central Equine Database

The Central Equine Database is used by equine Passport Issuing Organisations (PIOs) who upload passport records, and by regulatory bodies including Defra, the Devolved Administrations (for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland), the Food Standards Agency and Local Authority Trading Standards.

Owners can register with the Digital Stable at https://www.equineregister.co.uk/home

 

Further information

If you require any additional guidance, the following membership organisations resources may be helpful:

Owners – https://www.roa.co.uk/

Trainers – https://www.racehorsetrainers.org/homepage/index.asp

Breeders – https://www.thetba.co.uk/

Transporters – http://racehorse-transporters.org/index.php

 

 

Yards, Racecourses and Studs

On Monday 23 March, the UK Government introduced restrictions requiring people to stay at home as far as possible to help reduce the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. These restrictions will be in place initially for the three weeks following 23 March.

The official Government guidance can be read here.

Government introduced three new measures:

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes
  2. 2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public

Can staff working at racing yards or studs still go to work?

The guidance stipulates that people can leave home to travel to and from work “only where this absolutely cannot be done from home.”

On this basis, and provided that travel is strictly limited to the express purposes outlined by Government, travel directly to work to care for horses may continue. 

Staff who are essential to the care of horses in respect of the above, and who absolutely cannot work from home, should continue to travel to work during the period of these restrictions.

Can groundstaff still go to work?

Our current interpretation of the guidance, informed by conversations with DCMS, is that groundstaff may still travel to work to perform core outdoor duties on racecourses or at other facilities, provided requirements around social distancing and gatherings of no more than two people are followed.

For further advice, please contact the RCA.

Will the new restrictions affect the way I operate my yard or stud?

Horses should of course be cared for at all times – including access to food and water, clean bedding and exercise. Many business will require staff to travel to work to provide this.

Our current understanding is that, in order to adhere to Government guidance, the standard of care should be focused primarily on upholding their welfare, rather than their fitness to race. Any non-essential activity beyond this should be carefully considered and, where possible, avoided.

Staff at yards MUST follow Government advice relating to social distancing when outside – remaining at least two metres apart and avoiding gatherings of more than two people, apart from members of their own household, at any time.

Will my main suppliers (e.g. of feed, bedding, etc.) remain open?

The Government has advised that pet shops will remain open for access to supplies for animals, and we understand that this will also apply to suppliers of feed, bedding and appropriate veterinary medicines.

Some restrictions or staffing/supply chain issues may apply in relation to individual businesses, so you are advised to check direct with your suppliers.

Any business encountering disruptions in supply should make their membership body (e.g. NTF, TBA) aware as soon as possible. We are - and will remain - in discussions with Defra on this

Will vets still be open for business and able to visit?

The Royal College of Veterinary surgeons has advised its members to reduce face-to-face veterinary consultations to focus on emergency appointments, fulfilment of urgent prescriptions and maintaining the food supply chain. Please be mindful of this when contacting or consulting your veterinary surgeon or supplier.

Please be conscious that some veterinary practices may have additional restrictions in place, e.g. caused by staffing shortages if staff are self-isolating.

Are Farriers considered essential and will they be able to visit?

The Farriers Registration Council (FRC)’s interpretation of the Government guidance is that Registered Farriers can continue to provide essential services to equines, and they should continue to attend to equines using their judgement as to matters of priority and/or urgency, with provisos around hygiene and social distancing. This advice is subject to change.

Further updates

This is our current guidance, based on liaison with Defra and DCMS in relation to specific issues impacting on animal welfare, and general advice to businesses. It is possible that Government will further refine or clarify its own guidance over the coming days, which may make it necessary to amend this guidance to the racing industry.

The Government has already outlined support packages for workers who can be furloughed and paid at 80% of their wages in the period. For more information, please speak to your membership organisation.

 

Industry

Industry protocols for Breeders

The TBA has produced a guide for Breeders, which can be downloaded here:

Industry protocols for Breeders

The TBA COVID-19 page also has a number of useful templates for breeders:

TBA COVID-19 page

Operational Plan

1. Introduction

The purpose of this plan is to protect the health of British racing’s people, horses and businesses during the pandemic and plan for the earliest possible resumption of racing and a strong recovery.
This plan provides an overview of the wide and comprehensive range of activity, led by the Industry’s COVID 19 Group, to meet the challenges to the racing industry presented by the pandemic. It sets out objectives for the 5 key streams of work and the tasks already underway.

This plan is an iterative document and will be updated as the response progresses. It will drive the work going forward and be used as a template for reporting back to senior leaders, the industry and external stakeholders where required.

This plan has been developed by the Industry Group (IG) and approved by the Members’ Committee of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) representing racing’s tripartite leadership, the Racecourse Association (RCA), The Horsemen’s Group (THG) and the governing body and regulator, the BHA.


2. Objectives

There are 3 parts to the IG plan, Response, Resumption and Recovery. Here is a summary of each.

2.1 Response –The racing industry’s COVID 19 Group began meeting in February. The RCA issued initial guidance to racecourses based on expert medical advice. Further guidance was drafted for trainers and breeders and distributed by the NTF and TBA.

Daily briefings to jockeys commenced ahead of the Cheltenham Festival which continued with government support. The Jockey Club put in place additional measures to protect public health. The IG produced a plan for racing behind closed doors which happened at Kelso, Taunton and Wetherby.
The draft plan has been in place for several weeks and has already required substantial revision since racing was suspended on 17th March. The lockdown announced on March 23rd demonstrates that the plan will need continual revision to face the growing public health and economic pressures.
This plan puts in place the initial leadership and resources to manage the crisis. The aim is to coordinate activity, make the best use of the sport’s resources, engage in a coherent way with government and address immediate needs, for people and horses, as they emerge.

The industry is already moving to resolve immediate issues, notably where government help leaves gaps. More will need resolving as the crisis develops, based around a series of workstreams, each with their own leadership and supporting teams.

Racing is playing its part in the national effort to resolve the crisis. The decision to suspend racing, after consultation with representative groups from across the sport, was based on a desire to protect public health and free up medical resources without which racing cannot safely take part.

Individual racecourses and racing areas are already supporting their local communities. Activity is coordinated through Racing Together, which leads on community engagement for British racing.


2.2 Resumption – The industry is already developing options to get back to racing when it is safe to do so. It is critical that those within the sport can look forward and plan for a positive future. We will engage with government and local services to support a return to racing when the time is right
The Industry Group has contributed to a submission to the UK government that sets out the economic impact of the pandemic. About 20,000 people are directly employed in racing. For every pound spent in the industry, two more are generated in the wider economy, making racing worth an estimated £4.1 billion to the UK Economy. The submission details the value to the taxpayer and UK PLC of a resumption of economic activity. Racing proposes to work with the government to develop creative solutions to resume when that is possible.

To do this, racing will need to maintain racecourses in the right condition and fill critical roles at a race-day, including doctors and paramedics. It will need horses fit to race and jockeys ready to ride. We are planning a revised fixture programme that will be flexible enough to respond to local variations in the provision of health services and continuing government restrictions.

We cannot yet set out a timetable for resumption. No one can. Our ability to keep resources in place, horses exercised and ready to return to action, will be tested. The industry’s leaders would like to give more certainty over dates, but it is too early to do at present.

2.3 Recovery – Responding to the crisis, addressing hardship and keeping the industry afloat, will use resources. These include funds which can be made available from the Racing Foundation. This manages the endowment from the sale of the Tote and is looking to combine its contribution with support from other charitable trusts and funds. This will provide multi-million-pound support for any charitable activity required. The Horserace Betting Levy Board also holds reserves and discussions are underway about how these should best be used.

With no timetable, it is very difficult to calculate what will be required to alleviate hardship. Industry leaders also need to ensure there are sufficient funds ready to restart racing when revenues will not immediately return to the levels seen before the pandemic.

Businesses and bodies involved in racing are putting staff on furlough, using the Coronavirus Job Retention Programme. This may create challenges for the sport’s infrastructure, depending on how long the crisis continues. We need to ensure we have sufficient resource in place to maintain our assets through what seems likely to be a gradual return to normality.

The Industry Group works to the following objectives.


3. Operational objectives
  • To coordinate racing’s response to COVID 19, producing a coherent plan which maintains the industry, its businesses and people, in the best shape to resume and recover strongly.
  • To ensure that racing maximises government financial support and uses this or industry funds effectively to mitigate the financial impact on businesses and individuals.
  • To support those working in racing and manage the public health risk.
  • To look after the health and welfare of our horses
  • To plan for a resumption at the earliest possible opportunity
  • To lead accurate and timely engagement with audiences inside and outside the sport

4. Workstreams

There are five streams of work in total. Finance, People, Equine Health and Welfare, Resumption and Recovery. The first three will run through the entirety of the response. There are specific streams of work to plan for the resumption of racing and then a recovery phase.
There are three enablers for the operational plan which support all of the workstreams. These are, governance and programme management, communications and engagement and medical advice.


4.1 Finance
The Finance workstream covers these areas. All parts of the industry will be engaged through their representative bodies.

  • Maximising financial support from government, by ensuring that racing businesses such as trainers and racecourses are included where possible in general government schemes covering areas of the economy (e.g. the hospitality sector, business rate relief).
  • Identifying areas where racing seeks specific help from government, in concert with other sectors where this will strengthen the case (e.g. equestrian or other sports)
  • Identifying the resources and reserves within the sport (The Racing Foundation, charitable trusts) or available to the sport (Horserace Betting Levy Board) and engaging these bodies to seek assistance, and make the most effective use of the resources
  • Identifying financial needs so these can be assessed, including investors, owners, businesses across all parts of the industry
  • Identifying appropriate criteria for responding to needs so that money can be distributed fairly, as speedily as possible and proportionately to the assessed needs.
  • Identify appropriate mechanisms for distributing funding & establish where none exists.
  • Ensure the response itself has sustainable funding (for an indeterminate period).
  • Ensure appropriate funds are available to resume racing and plan for recovery after the crisis

Finance Team

This work is led by the short-form Executive Committee, which includes Nick Rust BHA, David Armstrong RCA, Charlie Liverton ROA, Rupert Arnold NTF, Paul Struthers PJA and Rod Street GBR. Claire Sheppard TBA, Alan Delmonte HBLB and Rob Hezel, The Racing Foundation, attend as appropriate.

This group is supported by Richard Wayman and the BHA’s financial team, and the BHA’s Public Affairs Team, including Will Lambe and the Head of Public Affairs, Ross Hamilton.
Specialist support is also available from a strategic business consultancy, Portas, which had been developing an economic model of racing based on up-to-date information on revenues and expenditures across the industry. This also allows the team to define the wider economic benefits of the industry and communicate these to government.


4.2 People
The People workstream covers the following areas.

  • To look after people who work in racing in whatever capacity and provide additional support to that offered by employers to mitigate the impact of the crisis on their personal lives
  • To support the physical and mental health of racing industry staff
  • To advise the finance group on immediate hardship and the most acute needs
  • To coordinate and support the activity of racing charities and other offers of help in delivering financial and other assistance (e.g. Racing Welfare, Injured Jockeys Fund).
  • To ensure sufficient capacity of mental health and counselling services is maintained
  • To provide feedback to the Industry Group on people needs as they develop and assess how these can be addressed, in particular, working closely with NARS
  • To identify where people gaps appear, and match available staff, using Careers in Racing, the Careers Advice and Training Service and representative bodies’ own resources
  • To promote Racing Welfare’s Racing Support Line as the primary route for enquiries and requests for help in order to assess and manage demand
  • To work with each of the membership bodies to assist in providing specialist information most relevant to their own cohort.
  • To liaise with the British Racing School and the National Horseracing College as appropriate


People Team
Dawn Goodfellow from Racing Welfare leads the team, supported by the Industry People team from the BHA, Holly Cook, from the RCA, Lisa Hancock from the IJF, George McGrath from NARS and other charities and organisations offering help and assistance.

Racing Welfare’s Racing Support Line is the preferred channel for requests for help. (Details on the Racing Welfare website). A team of trained and experienced counsellors is available 24/7 and this service will be maintained. The capacity to assess need and distribute support will be increased.
The BHA Industry People team will support redeployment of staff where required through the Jobs Board of Careers in Racing and the CATS service. The BHA Safeguarding team, which exists to protect vulnerable youngsters and adults, will continue to operate.

4.3 Equine Health and Welfare
The financial needs of those work in the owning, training and breeding sectors will be assessed and responded to through the Finance workstream set out above. The Equine Health and Welfare workstream exists to protect the welfare of horses, identify related needs as they emerge and ensure appropriate resources are available. Engagement with other equestrian bodies will avoid duplication of effort and provide a strong collective voice when dealing with DEFRA.
The main areas of work are

  • To ensure that the racing industry is able to continue to look after the health and welfare of horses and support the people who care for them
  • To identify acute needs, for example, where there are particular risks to equine welfare
  • To provide safety-net care in partnership with the BHA Veterinary and Welfare team, equine vets and retirement charities and homes (e.g. Retraining of Racehorses)
  • To establish a system to assess need and a funding mechanism to deliver financial support
  • To identify risks to the supply chain and engage with appropriate bodies (e.g. RCVS, Farriers).
  • To engage government via DEFRA to represent the interests of racing and ensure these are properly considered in government’s response to the pandemic
  • To ensure that trainers and breeders and those in the equine sector receive appropriate advice and support where possible to enable them to adapt to government restrictions
  • To engage with the Horse Welfare Board
  • To establish clear guidance for dealing with welfare issues where funding is not available
  • To support owners, keeping them engaged and informed, and assisting with their needs wherever possible

Equine Health and Welfare Team
David Sykes, the BHA’s Director of Equine Health and Welfare, leads this team supported by members of the Horse Welfare Board, NTF, TBA and ROA representatives, Roly Owers from World Horse Welfare and Dr Jenny Hall from Retraining of Racehorses.
Dr Tim Morris, formerly the BHA’s Director of Equine Science and Welfare and an advisor to DEFRA and other animal welfare bodies, will act as a consultant to this team.

4.4 Resumption of Racing
The focus of this planning is on the conditions that would need to be met in order to ensure resumption of racing at the earliest opportunity.

The main priority is to be ready for a resumption of racing as quickly as possible. The current suspension of racing runs until the end of April. The Group is planning for a resumption from 1 May.
This involves a range of interrelated considerations, including operational planning on the racecourse, the ability of horsemen to service fixtures, the scheduling and rescheduling of appropriate fixtures and races, as well as the need to ensure that regulatory requirements can be met so that racing can take place safely.

We have brought all of this together into a single Resumption of Racing workstream. Previously, we had two groups - one looking at the operational, logistical and regulatory requirements, with the other focused on planning the most appropriate fixtures and race programme.
We are already anticipating that the initial return to racing is likely to be phased and almost certainly behind closed doors. This reflects the likelihood that any easing of the Covid-19 situation, and any associated restrictions and pressures on medical services, will also happen progressively.

With that in mind, we also expect any return to racing to begin, at least initially, with Flat racing, principally for reasons of safety and to minimise demands on emergency services. While every effort will be made to subsequently resume jumping at the earliest opportunity, possibly with the scheduling of some Jumpers’ Bumpers cards, it may assist jumps trainers to judge whether horses can/should be turned out or kept in training.

The priorities of the Group are as follows:

  • To develop a resumption plan that appropriately reflects government advice in place at the time, including the pressures on the health service and public services generally, offering a range of options that can be adapted as required.
  • To coordinate detailed operational planning for a return to racing.
  • To maintain the resilience of regulatory services – stewarding, veterinary and integrity, to prepare for resumption.
  • To ensure that an appropriate fixture and race programme is in place for racing’s resumption.
  • To liaise with the betting industry and ensure they are engaged around the revised fixture programme and integrated into planning for the resumption of racing.
  • To ensure that the needs of broadcasters are recognised at an industry level and can be factored into the redesign of the racing programme.
  • To ensure racing’s administrative systems and processes are able to resume racing at the earliest possible opportunity.
  • To engage the HBLB around the fixture programme, to identify prize money requirements and coordinate these in concert with the money workstream above.

Brant Dunshea leads the group with the support of Richard Wayman and other BHA executives as required. Caroline Davies and Andy Clifton lead for the RCA, Ralph Beckett and Seamus Mullins for the NTF, and Charlie Parker for the ROA. Tom Byrne from the HBLB is also a member of the Group.
As the Group’s work progresses there will be further input from the PJA and numerous parties will be engaged including RaceTech, Britbet and the Tote, on-course bookmakers & the HWPA. The team will also liaise with ITV, BBC, RMG and TRP to incorporate the needs of broadcasters and the betting industry. The RCA will ensure appropriate links are in place with The Jockey Club, ARC, large and small independent racecourses and Scottish Racing.

Ruth Quinn from the BHA, with the support of a sub-group of Flat Pattern Committee members, will lead a separate but related piece of work on the Pattern once racing has resumed as well as international engagement in consultation with all relevant industry bodies

4.5 Recovery
This a proposed workstream at present, but consideration is already being given to the specific tasks and areas of work that are likely to be required. Financial discussions are already considering the potential implications of a longer shutdown, if that is required by government measures, and ensuring that that sufficient resource is set aside.
There were many industry projects that were underway or in the pipeline prior to the lockdown. Consideration is being to which of these should be continued or even accelerated. Some projects may contribute to a speedy return to racing. Some may make the sport more efficient and effective and aid its recovery.

It is not too early to think and plan for how to come back strongly as an industry, making sure that when we do resume, we are in the right shape to compete for interest, investment and customers, even if resumption is behind closed doors at first.


5. Enablers

Three areas of support are required by all of the workstreams.

5.1 Governance & Programme Management
This work is about ensuring the Industry Group functions effectively. It has to ensure that the right leaders are in place with a clear set of accountabilities. It has to keep this plan up-to-date and ensure it is coordinated with relevant work going on in the industry. It has to ensure appropriate governance and engagement with the Members Committee, BHA Board, HBLB, government and other key stakeholders. It is working to a Programme Management model, following best practice for managing workstreams, timetables and resources. Its functions are

  • To ensure that an operational plan is agreed by the IG and the Members and kept under constant review to direct a programme of work to ensure an effective initial response, resolve issues as they appear, resume racing and assist recovery
  • To ensure the IG is itself resilient with appropriate leaders and alternates in place
  • To ensure that the progress of all workstreams is reported back to the industry group and managed in accordance with an agreed timetable and clear accountabilities
  • To identify risks and put in place mitigations
  • To ensure appropriate governance and decision-making processes are in place
  • To identify resourcing requirements for the IG and its supporting organisations and developing a resourcing plan as required
  • To ensure the group can function effectively through organisation & minuting of meetings and actions, documentation of activity, through an information hub.

Programme Management Team
The team is led by Martin Fewell from the BHA, with project management support. Nick Rust will normally chair the meeting and agree where issues need to be escalated as per the governance process below. The team has already added new members as issues have arisen and will continue to keep its own activity under review.
Escalation Process
All three voting members of the Executive Committee are on the Industry COVID 19 Group. That Committee should be the first point of contact for decisions beyond the scope of the Industry Group. The BHA Board, Members Committee and Horserace Betting Levy Board to be involved as needed.

5.2 Communications and Engagement
The national and racing response have moved very quickly from limited self-imposed restrictions to a government-directed lockdown. There is massive disruption to business and huge uncertainty for all. The communication challenge is formidable. A lack of clarity sometimes arises from the pace of the government’s response, making rapid decision-making difficult. Current objectives are

  • To ensure accurate and timely communication to internal and external audiences
  • To ensure appropriate channels of feedback are in place to all workstreams so that needs can be surfaced and addressed, and the impact of decisions quickly understood
  • To establish a clear demarcation of communication responsibilities between the IG and representative bodies to avoid a logjam in messages from the centre and tailor messages to the needs of particular groups
  • To follow an agreed communication and engagement plan
  • To provide clear and accurate information on the response, signposting to more detailed sources of information as appropriate
  • To maintain the engagement of key racing and external stakeholders
  • To lead the work of government engagement and ensure this is coordinated using the Public Affairs Group as appropriate
  • To use relevant relationships that racing holds with political figures in a coordinated way
  • To keep the public informed of the impact on racing and the rural economy to support government engagement activity

Communications Team
The BHA Communications team supports the IG, led by Martin Fewell, with its Head of Stakeholder Engagement, Alison Enticknap, leading stakeholder engagement, Ross Hamilton leading on Public Affairs and Robin Mounsey on Media. The team will be supported by a Joint Communications Group, which includes a range of communication specialists from across the industry, and is led by Rod Street and Naomi Lawson from GBR. This will be especially important as resumption approaches and we engage customers and the media
The Public Affairs team is supported by a specialist consultancy, Hanover, to advise on engagement with government and Parliamentarians.
Community engagement activity to support the national effort to resolve the crisis will be coordinated through Racing Together and publicized with the support of GBR.

5.3 Medical
All streams are supported by work to supply medical advice and assist the IG in planning for resumption when continuing public health restrictions are likely to be in place. This work covers the following areas,

  • To provide advice on medical, health and welfare issues that enable racing to protect the health of all involved in the industry, the public and customers
  • To provide advice on planning for all phases of the response and to assist in facilitating the resumption of racing
  • To ensure appropriate medical advice is available to representative bodies when specific issues arise affecting their members
  • To assist in engagement with local health services, private health care and the NHS
  • To support the resumption plan with appropriate medical advice

Medical Team
The medical team is composed on Dr Iain McNeil, Medical Advisor to the RCA, and Dr Jerry Hill, Chief Medical Advisor to the BHA, supported by the BHA’s medical team. Dr Hill and team are already providing medical advice on the resumption of racing.

6. Feedback

For feedback on the plan, please use communications@britishhorseracing.com
This plan is an iterative document and will be updated as the response progresses.


7. Appendix One

COVID-19 Group Representatives & Workstream Leads
Nick Rust - BHA Chief Executive – Chair of the COVID 19 Group
David Armstrong - RCA Chief Executive
Caroline Davies – RCA Racecourse Services Director
Holly Cook - RCA Racecourse Services Manager
Rupert Arnold – NTF Chief Executive
George Noad – NTF Racing Executive
Brant Dunshea – BHA Chief Regulatory Officer, LEAD Resumption
Richard Wayman – BHA Chief Operations Officer
Charlie Liverton – ROA Chief Executive
Alan Delmonte – HBLB Chief Executive
Rob Hezel – Racing Foundation Chief Executive
Claire Sheppard -TBA Chief Executive
Dawn Goodfellow – Racing Welfare Chief Executive LEAD People
Dr Iain McNeil – RCA – Medical advisor Co-LEAD Medical
Dr Jerry Hill – BHA – Medical advisor Co-LEAD Medical
Dr David Sykes – BHA Director of Equine Health & Welfare LEAD Equine Health & Welfare
Martin Fewell – BHA Director of Communications LEAD Programme Management
Alison Enticknap – BHA Head of Stakeholder Engagement LEAD Stakeholder Communications
Gemma Grant – BHA – Administration
Jessica Farr – BHA/HWB – Project Management

Racing Calendar and Programme Book

Racing Calendar

We will continue to publish fortnightly as an online publication only for the meantime.  Early closers that were due to enter before the end of April will revert to be normal 5/6 day closers and prize money advertised will be set to £1 until 5 days before entry when the correct values will be published.  A decision will be made about early closers due to enter in future months nearer the time but probably on a monthly basis.

Other races will be published on the basis of a normal resumption of racing until such time that we know any differently but heavily caveated as prize money is unlikely to be achievable at advertised levels even if races do go ahead.

 

Programme Book 3

The programme book will be published as normal but with a caveat that race values may be reduced depending on how the situation evolves.  Racecourses are likely to set races at minimum values where possible and the industry will need to meet to discuss whether these are achievable as more is known.

Resumption of Jump Racing

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced that it will delay the resumption of jump racing until the beginning of July. This decision was made following an initial proposal from the National Trainers Federation (NTF), with the aim being to provide clarity to the trainers and owners of jump horses and to assist them in minimising any unnecessary expenditure.

 
The decision has been taken in agreement with the Racehorse Owners Association (ROA), Professional Jockeys Association (PJA) and Racecourse Association (RCA).
  
As included in the industry plan announced on Monday, detailed proposals are being developed for a resumption of racing from 1st May, if that’s possible. When that happens, racing will begin on the flat and behind closed doors to minimise demands on emergency services.
 
The return to racing is also likely to be phased with a limited number of fixtures in the initial weeks. This reflects the likelihood that any easing of the Covid-19 situation, and any associated restrictions and pressures on medical services, will also happen progressively. With flat racing usually entering its core season at this time of year, the focus in the early stages of the return to racing will be on providing opportunities to the flat horse population.

A team led by the BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Brant Dunshea, with representatives from across the industry met yesterday (Wednesday) to review the developing plan for resumption from 1st May.       
 
Planning has also commenced for a return to jump racing, beginning from 1st July. It will include providing extra opportunities by programming more jump fixtures than would usually occur at this time of year, including during the originally scheduled jump breaks in August and September.

Tracks capable of holding jump racing in this period and most affected by the reduction in the number of jump fixtures earlier in the summer will be given priority when programming additional opportunities. 

Richard Wayman, Chief Operating Officer of the BHA, said:

"The decision to lose jump racing until July was not one which was taken lightly and we are very conscious of the impact this will have on many across our sport.
 
“We are working closely with the horsemen, racecourses and Levy Board to ensure the sport is ready for a resumption of racing at the earliest possible opportunity. Our planning is progressing well, and it is important that we keep everybody informed as it develops to help them with their own decision-making.

“The plan involves a phased return of racing, as well as increasing the jump programme in late summer and early autumn. With that in mind, we wanted to ensure that those who own or train jumps horses have a clear picture of how we are planning to proceed in the coming months.

"Additionally, we were keen to minimise the risk of any unnecessary expenditure by confirming that there will be no jump racing before 1st July. This will allow horses to have breaks away from training yards if owners wish them to." 
 
Emma Lavelle, President of the NTF, said:

"Having canvassed the opinion of Jump trainers, we felt a break in Jump racing until 1st July would bring clarity for owners, trainers and staff, and allow the immediate focus to be on Flat Racing which is already losing a major part of its core season. 

"There was a willingness to engage in constructive conversation amongst the BHA and other stake holders and flexibility to produce a programme that will give plenty of opportunities to the summer jump population later in the year”.

Charlie Parker, ROA Board member and representative on the Resumption of Racing Group, said:

"The decision to delay the resumption of Jump racing until 1st July will help bring clarity to those who were looking forward to seeing their horses run over the summer months. By taking this decision, owners and trainers can now plan with more certainty, albeit with the knowledge that it will be a phased return and therefore opportunities for horses to run will be limited initially.

"The ROA will continue to work with the Resumption of Racing Group to ensure that, when feasible, British racing is able to restart a race programme as soon as possible."

David Armstrong, Chief Executive of the RCA, said:

"All parts of the industry are suffering right now, and racecourses are no exception, but we are fully supportive of this decision to give some certainty to horsemen and others around the timing of a resumption of jump racing.

"Equally, the commitment from the BHA that they will look to stage an enhanced programme of jump fixtures during the late summer and early Autumn is very helpful and should give some comfort to all those involved."
 
Dale Gibson, Executive Director (Racing) of the PJA, said:
 
“The PJA, having consulted senior Jump Jockeys and our Board via conference call this morning, fully supports the plan for Jump Racing to return in July. Any changes to the summer programme present new challenges for everyone involved, especially during these incredibly difficult times. We all need to be willing to adapt and work collectively for the benefit to the sport as a whole. 

"This includes having an agreed plan for the initial resumption of racing, whenever that may be, as long as we are able to do so safely from both a national perspective and from a participants’ point of view. We look forward to working closely with other stakeholders in producing a plan to get racing back up and running as soon as possible.”

Resumption of Racing Group

We are writing with an update on the planning that is being coordinated in relation to the resumption of racing. These changes will be reflected in the revised Covid-19 Operational Plan, which will be published early next week.


The focus of this planning is on the conditions that would need to be met in order to ensure resumption of racing at the earliest opportunity.


This involves a range of interrelated considerations, including operational planning on the racecourse, the ability of horsemen to service fixtures, the scheduling and rescheduling of appropriate fixtures and races, as well as the need to ensure that regulatory requirements can be met so that racing can take place safely.


We have now brought all of this together into a single Resumption of Racing workstream, where previously we had two groups - one looking at the operational, logistical and regulatory requirements, with the other focused on planning the most appropriate fixtures and race programme.


Brant Dunshea is leading the group, with the support of Richard Wayman and other BHA executives as required. Caroline Davies and Andy Clifton will represent the RCA. Horsemen will be represented by Ralph Beckett and Seamus Mullins from the NTF, and Charlie Parker for the ROA. Tom Byrne from the Levy Board is also a member of the Group.


As the Group’s work progresses numerous parties will be engaged, including RaceTech, on-course bookmakers & the HWPA. The team will also liaise with RMG and TRP to incorporate the needs of broadcasters and the betting industry. The RCA will ensure appropriate links are in place with The Jockey Club, ARC, large and small independent racecourses and Scottish Racing.


We are already anticipating that the initial return to racing is likely to be phased and almost certainly behind closed doors. This reflects the likelihood that any easing of the Covid-19 situation, and any associated restrictions and pressures on medical services, will also happen progressively.


With that in mind, we also expect any return to racing to begin, at least initially, with Flat racing, principally for reasons of safety and to minimise demands on emergency services. While every effort will be made to subsequently resume Jumping at the earliest opportunity, possibly with the scheduling of some Jumpers’ Bumpers cards, it may assist Jumps trainers to judge whether horses can/should be turned out or kept in training.


The priorities of the Group are as follows:


- To develop a resumption plan that appropriately reflects government advice in place at the time, including the pressures on the health service and public services generally, offering a range of options that can be adapted as required.
- To coordinate detailed operational planning for a return to racing.
- To maintain the resilience of regulatory services – stewarding, veterinary and integrity, to prepare for resumption.
- To ensure that an appropriate fixture and race programme is in place for racing’s resumption.
- To liaise with the betting industry and ensure they are engaged around the revised fixture programme and integrated into planning for the resumption of racing.
- To ensure that the needs of broadcasters are recognised at an industry level and can be factored into the redesign of the racing programme.
- To ensure racing’s administrative systems and processes are able to resume racing at the earliest possible opportunity.
- To engage the HBLB around the fixture programme, to identify prize money requirements and coordinate these in concert with the money workstream above.


Ruth Quinn from the BHA, with the support of a sub-group of Flat Pattern Committee members, will lead a separate but related piece of work on the planning of the Pattern, as well as international engagement in consultation with all relevant industry bodies.


We want to assure you that our main priority is to be ready for a resumption of racing as quickly as possible. The current suspension of racing runs until the end of April and the Group is planning for a resumption from the 1st of May.


The Group is focused on innovation and creativity and are considering any and all options that could be implemented quickly under a range of possible scenarios.


Please do not hesitate to contact us if you wish to discuss any aspect of this work further.


Many thanks,
Brant Dunshea, on behalf of the Resumption of Racing Group

Weatherbys

Weatherbys PASScard helpdesk

The PASS Helpdesk will be closed during the period of the suspension of racing. Any messages and queries will not be answered during this time, but will be addressed when the Helpdesk reopens.

If your query does not relate specifically to PASS then please email registrations@weatherbys.co.uk

 

Communications

Our team are working with industry leaders to propose and communicate various ways to support owners in racing over the coming days, and we will be communicating these to you through e-bulletins, direct contact and also the Thoroughbred Owner & Breeder publication. 
 
Communications to owners will be managed directly by the ROA, working with the industry group, rather than by the BHA. This is the approach we are taking across the industry, to ensure that everyone gets tailored information that meets their particular needs.
 
Please ensure that you keep us updated with your contact details, particularly including your email address.
 
We have sent members a number of communications on the work currently being undertaken:

 

Health advice

We understand that the Coronavirus outbreak is affecting everyone who works in racing in different ways. You may still be riding out every morning, running your own training facility, looking after new foals at stud, working from home following an office shutdown or you may be unable to work.

Whatever your circumstances, it has never been more important to look after your mental wellbeing. Mental wellbeing describes your mental state – how you are feeling and how well you can cope with day‐to‐day life. Our mental wellbeing is dynamic. It can change from moment to moment, day to day, month to month or year to year.

This toolkit from GBR offers guidance and resources to safeguard and improve your mental wellbeing at this unprecedented time.

http://www.greatbritishracing.com/latest/mind-matters-mental-helath-wellbeing-toolkit/

We continue to stress the importance of Owners adhering to Government guidance to protect themselves and the wider racing industry, particularly in relation to visiting racing establishments. Our guidance is in line with recommendations from public health experts. This guidance includes:

  • NHS advice on personal health and individual behaviour, with common questions about the virus.
  • Advice for travellers returning to or visiting the UK from an affected country.